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Why Lagosians should heed flood alert

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Sir: On April 14, 2021, the Lagos State Government predicted high intensity of rainfall of 261 days this year, with an attendant flooding across the state. The state, therefore, directed its residents in coastal and low-lying wetland areas to move upland in order to avert avoidable loss of lives and properties. This was made known by the Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello at a media briefing on 2021 Seasonal Climate Predictions and Socio-Economic Implications for Lagos State, held at Alausa, Ikeja. In the words of Bello, “…Lagos State shall experience a rainy season of 238-261 days, while Maximum Annual Rainfall Amount is predicted to be 1747mm. It is also expected that the increasing frequency of extreme weather events indicate that year 2021 will likely experience days with extremely high rainfall amounts which may result in flooding.”

In downscaling the predictions of the flood alerts, the state government is therefore collaborating with the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET). In addition to what the Environment and Water Resources commissioner said, the Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Drainage Services, Mr. Joe Igbokwe declared, “I…urge residents to support the government to achieve flood-free Lagos and desist from dumping refuse in drainage channels or encroaching on Right of Ways of canals. Regrettably, several of the canals that have been recently cleaned up are again being littered by residents.”

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A secure environment-friendly future is not built on the premises of mere luck with folding of arms; it is deliberately and conscientiously built by treating our environment well. Most roads in the hinterlands do not have gutters to allow rainwater flow when there is heavy downpour. Makeshift water channels could be dug, even if not deep, to ease water flow in such areas. Drainage systems constructed in cities and towns should be deep and wide enough to allow the free flow of flood water. For rural dwellers, they should desist from the unhealthy habit of dumping refuse in drainage channels. This act is also prevalent in cities as they empty their waste bins in the rains thinking the dirt will flow with the rainwater whereas it comes back to hurt and harm the residents. While government plays its role in providing social amenities and infrastructures for citizens, Lagos residents must also do their best to maintain them. Let it also be added that, as citizens await provision of public amenities by government, they are duty-bound to provide themselves the needed facilities in the interim.

We cannot prevent the rains from falling in its season, but we can prevent the rage of water. Nature’s fierceness occasioned by continuous furious downpour can be avoided if we take good care of our environment. In the overall interest of the safety of lives and properties, every resident must brace for the rainy days ahead in order to be prepared for the peak period.

• Kayode Ojewale is of the Public Affairs Unit of LASTMA.

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